HELENSBURGH'S new waterfront leisure centre has been hit by another delay – and is not now expected to be complete until the summer of 2022, 13 years after a masterplan was first drawn up for the site.

The latest delay – pushing the opening date for the new facility back from May to July of next year – is revealed in a report prepared for Helensburgh and Lomond councillors ahead of two key meetings in the project's timeline next week.

The building contract for the new facility is set to be awarded after it is discussed by Argyll and Bute Council's Helensburgh and Lomond area committee on June 24, and by the authority's temporary 'business continuity committee' the following day.

A new timeline for the project, published ahead of next week’s meetings, indicates that building work on the site is scheduled to start on Thursday, August 13, 2020, with a completion date of Wednesday, July 13, 2022 – two months later than advised when the area committee last met in March.

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Staff would then begin to move into the new centre, with demolition starting on the existing facility.

It is anticipated that after a further year to put any defects right, the contract would be closed out by Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

According to a report for next week’s area committee meeting, three different potential contractors are in the running to build the leisure centre.

The names of the candidates and the details of their bids are being kept confidential.

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The report states: “The project team began the current exercise to identify a suitably experienced and capable contractor to deliver the works contract in August 2019.

“This competition was undertaken in accordance with the restricted process i.e. a two-stage process which identifies suitable contractors to be invited to tender for the works.

“At the end of stage one, three contractors were selected, and invited to submit tenders.

“The tenders were submitted on February 25, 2020 and were then the subject of a detailed evaluation of their technical proposals i.e. how they planned to undertake the works, and subsequently their commercial proposals, including their tendered price and any proposals in respect of the terms and conditions of contract, or equivalent products.”

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The tendering process was held up in July 2019 after an ‘inadvertent technical breach’ which resulted in the process being restarted.

The report continues: “The delivery of the Helensburgh Waterfront Development project will result in significant and positive employment and gross value added implications for Helensburgh and Lomond, Argyll and Bute, and wider Scotland.

“The issuing of this contract will be one of the most significant milestones in this strategic change process and the culmination of years of planning, engagement, consultation and due diligence.

“As we emerge from Covid-19 and its global impact, contracts and projects such as this will play an essential part in helping our regional and national economies to recover.

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“It will provide employment opportunities during the construction period, and positive impacts for the local economy in catering to the direct and indirect needs of a major construction site.

“Having completed a competitive procurement exercise for the main works contract, and developed the full business case in accordance with HMRC guidance, we are confident in our recommendation that the works contract should be awarded to the tenderer that submitted the most economically advantageous tender.”

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